When it comes to emergencies, natural disasters and other unplanned events, it’s a lot better to plan for them ahead of time than to be scrambling at the last minute along with everyone else. Family caregivers like you have extra requirements they need to consider because your elderly relative has different needs than other family members. September is National Preparedness Month and it’s an ideal time for family caregivers to get support and information about what it takes to prepare themselves and their elderly relatives for an emergency.
It may not make sense to hear that elderly people have vastly different needs in an emergency than those of other adults. However, after taking a closer look at dependent seniors, it’s easy to see why some extra preparation is mandatory. First, elderly people are much less mobile and may not be able to get to a safe place within the home or even be able to evacuate. Many of them have special dietary requirements and often depend on life-sustaining prescription medications. It’s not unusual for them to have medical devices that help them stay well.
Here are 10 things that you need to incorporate into your emergency preparedness plans for your elderly relative:
- Prepare now for any kind of emergency that may hit your area. If you live in a hurricane or tornado zone, create plans for each scenario. Use local resources to create plans for what you and your elderly relative will do. Talk about it often so that if something does happen, you will both know the plan.
- Put together an emergency kit that includes food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Store enough for 3 to 4 days.
- Store water for 3 to 4 days, approximately a gallon per person per day.
- Gather enough illumination to last through at least a week of power outage. This should include several flashlights and even camping lanterns. Don’t forget batteries.
- Include any medical equipment needs, like batteries for hearing aids or an extra pair of glasses.
- Store up about two weeks of any prescription medications the elderly people need.
- Create copies of important documents like medical cards, prescription med info, insurance papers and anything immediately helpful.
- Put everything in the emergency kit into an easy-to-carry bag, like a backpack or duffle bag, in case of evacuation.
- If possible, get a manual wheelchair to move the elderly person in case of an evacuation.
- Make window signs that can be posted in the aftermath of a disaster to notify rescuers and relief workers that you are sheltering in place and need assistance.
Hopefully, there will never be an emergency or natural disaster that affects your community, but it’s never going to hurt to be prepared. Anyone that must go through an emergency situation will be able to approach it with less stress and better care with a preparedness plan in place. When it comes to elderly relatives, they may experience less stress and worry knowing that you both are as prepared as possible.